The Chronicles of Avantia: Call to War by Adam Blade
|The Chronicles of Avantia: Call to War by Adam Blade|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A decent piece of action from the middle of this junior fantasy read, with some strongly-written scenes.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: February 2011|
|Publisher: Orchard Books|
Our three heroes and their magical giant beasts are still trying to snatch the quarters of an ancient, power-giving mask from the clutches of their realm's enemy. They're not doing too well in the chase, for he has two of the bits, and even his assistant they thought dead at the end of book one is still around. Can they have any luck this third time of asking, even when their country is being ravaged, turning once-helpful villagers against their quest, and their enemies are getting stronger by the battle?
Take a heroic boy on a phoenix, a logical-minded girl with her throwing axes and a flying wolf (don't ask), and a hot-headed boy with a giant big cat and you have enough conflict enough already, even without other events. Add in lynchings, semi-mythical potions, and underground lairs for the baddie's soldiers (or not...), and it's clear to see this series is more than rich enough for such a junior fantasy.
It's mostly down to the longer format of this series from the factory of writing known as. There is clearly more scope when you don't have the standard monster introduction, monster battle, monster conclusion. Here the characters of the three young heroes (and even their beasts, with the more artful insertion of narration from Firepos the Flame Bird) are developed, and the varied levels of action prove more beneficial to all.
It's still not exactly world-class fiction, but there are not exactly many major flaws either. It provides several strong scenes of drama, and ticks enough boxes marked 'surprise' and 'interest'. Sometimes the dialogue is by-numbers, and too often it leaves too much inconclusive (yet with at least one more book to come that's perhaps understandable) but I can't object at all to a book like this encouraging the young reader.
Yes it'll get abandoned come secondary school, but this is junior without being too juvenile, and on the whole the two books of this series I've read prove it can be recommended.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Among the best recent junior fantasy titles is Spindlewood: Pip and the Wood Witch Curse by Chris Mould.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Chronicles of Avantia: Call to War by Adam Blade at Amazon.com.
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